Issues in focus

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ALBUM Chair and Stephensons of Essex Managing Director Bill Hiron gave an opening address. JONATHAN WELCH

Jonathan Welch looks at some of the topics discussed at the 2023 ALBUM conference in Edinburgh

In last week’s issue, we looked at the suppliers and manufacturers present at the recent ALBUM conference, and heard their reasons for attending and their thoughts on the event, as well as about some of the myriad of products and services on show. This week, we turn to look at some of the topics discussed, which centred around three ‘p’s representing the changing face of the bus industry; policy, product and people, the latter encompassing both passengers and staff.

A warm welcome was given by the Managing Director of event host Lothian Buses, Sarah Boyd, and delegates were equally warmly welcomed by ALBUM chair Bill Hiron, Managing Director of Stephenson’s of Essex.

The industry is driven by the needs of its customers, and is looking to the future and new technology, said Sarah, but faces the reality of an ever-changing world in which operators have had to adapt to a new normal in which the bus must offer a viable alternative to car travel. Bill highlighted the importance of the conference in bringing together operators and suppliers, with over 300 people attending this year, around half of whom represented operators, the remainder suppliers and manufacturers. He spoke of revenue and cost challenges and the fast pace of change with which everyone in the industry will be familiar as he welcomed the conference’s first speaker, Transport for Scotland’s Director of Bus Accessibility and Active Travel Bettina Sizeland, standing in for Transport Minister Kevin Stewart MSP.



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